Saturday, 29 June 2013

TAST #71 Bullion Buttonhole Stitch

This week there is a break from TAST, and I have been slow at working on last week's TAST stitch. #71 is called Bullion Buttonhole Stitch, and the name says it all. Two stitches combined, one troublesome and the other enjoyable. Bullions are time consuming and fiddly, even if you follow the rules, use a Milliner's needle and work slowly. Buttonhole stitches are so easy you could do them in your sleep. I have mixed feelings about mixing them!

Anyway, I worked my sampler:
You can see how uneven the first black stitches (on the left) are. The second row is worked in a 'strange' thread. It is beautifully variegated but extremely waxy. It was a gift, thrown in when I bought something else.

For my TAST project I once again pulled out odd bits from my stash of scraps and simply let the needle do the work. Not much to write home about, or even write a blog post about! Sorry for taking up your time!
Head over to Pintangle instead and see what others have created.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

WIPW - Lace and Flags

It has been a hectic week but here is my Work In Progress Wednesday report on the coffee party quilt, Kafferepet. For more WIPW reports, go to Pintangle.

There are no more 'items' on the quilt top; the last thing to show and tell is the collection of lace that I have incorporated between the blocks.

There are seven kinds of lace. All but two are handmade by ladies in my family, grandmothers, aunts and my mother. Originally the lace must have been made for bed linen. Most of them can be traced to fine sheets and pillow cases, but in my mother's stash I found a number of odd bits and ends of lace.
In honour of all 'kafferep' parties these ladies have hosted, I wanted to make use of these pieces in my quilt.

This lace was crocheted by my mother:

These are bobbin lace:

This lace I have bought, and it is machine made:

As you can see I have placed the lace on top of either blue or yellow fabric. By doing this I wanted to add the colours of the Swedish flag.

How a national flag is used varies of course from country to country.
In Sweden I feel it is a symbol of summer; it is flown whenever there is a festival, like this Midsummer Dance around the May pole. Also it is flown to celebrate a national holiday, a birthday or graduation.
Anyone with a private yacht, a country cottage, a caravan or a sunny balcony is likely to have a small flag on display.
When the rectangular flag is not used, a pennant like this is flown.
One of the Swedish traditional Christmas tree decorations is bunting:

Many flags have names, the Union Jack (Great Britain), Stars and Stripes (USA), Dannebrogen (Denmark, the oldest flag in the world) ... and while writing this I found that the Swedish flag is supposed to be called Swea. This is something I have never heard before.  If you know anything about this, I would be interested to read your comment.

A flag that does have a name is the Japanese, Hinomaru. This must be the easiest flag in the world to draw - you take a sheet of white paper and draw a red dot in the middle!
This simple design has given name to the most frugal form of boxed lunch, the Hinomaru Bento (the seventh picture from the top). It consists of a bed of cooked rice with a pickled red plum in the middle.
During WWII another version of the flag, with sunrays, became the symbol of ultra nationalism and aggression.
A flag is like any powerful symbol, it can evoke pride, shame, unity, distance taking or other strong feelings. The power of a piece of fabric!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

NHK Partnership Quilt 2014 - block completed

I have completed my contribution to NHK Partnership Charity Quilt 2014.

As I told you in this blog entry the theme this time is Floral Message or The Flower Language.

First I thought I would make a fantasy flower and a 'fantastic' message, but then settled for one of the most traditional and well known messages; the Olive branch.

Following my tradition, I included the Swedish flag; just to add a bit of 'international' flair. After all The Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival, has 'international' in its title!

For the readers of this blog who are in Japan, I have some more information.

In NHK's monthly craft magazine, 'Sutekini Handmade', June issue

there are some suggestions of floral blocks made by Kathy Nakajima, who is in charge of the Partnership Quilt project this year.
Another piece of information for those in Japan who intend to contribute with a block:
If you include a postcard like the one below (通常はがき, tsuujou hagaki) addressed to yourself and leave the back blank, NHK will then  print the number of the quilt into which your block has been added, and send it to you. You will also get a coupon for a small reduction of the entry ticket.

For all other information, size, address and last date of entry, click here.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

WIPW - Flowers


Regular readers know by now that WIPW for me means a report on my Kafferepet quilt.
We've come to the last kind of items on the quilt - flowers.

For the well dressed coffee party table there must be flowers. Winters in Sweden are long, dark and cold so almost every home has a selection of potted houseplants, many of them flowering. A pot with hyacinths, African violets or orchids may decorate the table.

However, cut flowers are more common, especially in the warmer seasons. They may be shop bought, or picked in the garden. Usually they are beautifully arranged in a vase, but they can simply be strewn on the table as well.

One of the most popular summer flowers is the Ox Eyed Daisy, and it is even featured on the Swedish National costume.

I come from a long line of florists, and gardeners, who cultivated new varieties of fruit and flowers. Having flowers around the house is second nature to me, and for this quilt I tried to follow in my ancestors' footsteps and bred a new 'Heart Petalled Daisy', i.e. I appliquéd a couple of fantasy flowers, ha, ha!

Flowers on the table can of course also be the edible variety. There might be crystallised violets on a cake. How about some rose jelly as a cake filling, lavender scones, lemon scented pelargonium leaves in the muffin batter, camomile tea or small frozen flowers in the ice cubes...

Japan is famous for its Ikebana. You can see these artistically arranged flowers in the alcove of a traditional living room,

in restaurants and even railway stations or post offices.
However, these arrangements are not placed on a dining table. Even other bouquets of flowers are displayed on side tables, in the window or at the Buddhist altar (in this last case they are a special selection of flowers), but NOT on the table. Now here comes a contradiction: That doesn't mean that there are no flowers on the table! There are, but they are for consumption; cherry blossoms cured in salt and used for tea, chrysanthemum  petals pickled in vinegar and honey, rice steamed in bamboo leaves... Also like kitchen wizards in many other countries, a Japanese chef might carve vegetables to look like flowers, e.g a slice of carrot turned into a plum blossom.
Oh, and of course, in spring the chops sticks might rest on a small twig with cherry blossoms and in autumn there might be a red maple leaf in the bamboo basket of deep fried vegetables - not for consumption, and not in the common home, you need to go to a 'fancy' restaurant to see this.

More progress on the border.
I used Sharon's CQ Stencils for the swirly TAST stems. #56 Sailor Stitch on the left and #12 Barred and Alternating Barred Chain Stitch on the right
Some stitch treatment on flower and leaves. There will be beads added later.
For more WIPW reports, visit Pintangle.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

TAST #70 Crested Chain Stitch

TAST #70 is called the Crested Chain Stitch. Fun and easy.
Here is my sampler

As I didn't make a 'project' piece with last week's #69 stitch, Buttonholed Double Chain, I thought I'd make a (Sumptuous Surface Embroidery) combination piece of #69 and  #70.
My scarp bag and odd button box are now a few pieces lighter.

For more TASTy work, go to Pintangle.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

WIPW - Paper, but it ought to have been...

In today's Work In Progress Wednesday 'Kafferepet' report, I want to show you another important item for the coffee party, the napkin or serviette.

These are meant to look like paper napkins (although any quilter will of course know this is appliquéd fabric, ha, ha), but they ought to have been linen serviettes.

As it stains easily, in the 1960s the linen napkin began to be replaced with disposable paper serviettes. These days they can be found in a variety of colours and patterns, often reflecting the season.

For the elegant table setting the napkins should be folded. I found this book from Ica Förlaget, printed 1969.

It shows in detailed diagrams over thirty different ways of folding. For example 'The Princess' to the left and 'The Water Lily' to the right. In the latter one can place a roll or bun.
In the book is also a good illustration of a Kafferepet table, and you might recognise several of the items I have included in my quilt.
Coffee cups, spoons,  napkins, candles, a green Princess cake with the pink marzipan carnation. Instead of the china coffee pot there is a rather ugly thermos pot.

Before we leave the subject of napkins, may I tell you a bit about the Japanese custom?
At home, napkins are seldom used, even when there are guests, you simply reach for a tissue from the box. Instead you might have on hand a small (dish)cloth, wet but well wrung out,.
Guests might each be offered a nice clean one, called 'oshibori', beautifully placed on a small bamboo tray.
It is actually quite common that you are given such an 'osibori' in a restaurant, these days they might be of paper.
The serviettes offered at coffee shops is usually a scant piece of glossy tissue, good enough for wiping your mouth maybe, but how do you protect your clothes?
Well, you carry a handkerchief of course, and spread it on your lap. Anyone who has been to a Japanese department store will know the huge selection of handkerchiefs - and they are NOT for blowing your nose in!!!

The really elegant restaurant will give you a 'hizakake', a lap cloth, often with the name of the establishment. They are quite collectable, and can be used by the ardent quilter! This one from 'Tekkinro'.
Now back to the progress report.
On the border I have been adding small embroidered branches. I used my new cq stencils, and worked two TAST stitches. #23 Cable Chain and #27 Up and Down Buttonhole:

For more WIPW reports, go to Pintangle.

Monday, 10 June 2013

The Early Bird Catches the...

The Early Bird Catches the... Worm, or in this case, the Stencils. I am of course talking about Sharon B's CQ stencils.

I am lucky enough to live in the same time zone, read her blog post when it was 'fresh off the press' and ordered the stencils quickly before they were sold out.
They arrived by post on Saturday and I have since then been playing around a bit.

First I scribbled on paper,

then made a little design which I have just finished stitching. Great fun because the stencils are so easy to use.

So these stencils are not only useful for marking fancy seams on crazy quilts, but also for marking other embroidery designs.

If you want to order your own, head over to Pintangle and leave a comment on the link above.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

TAST #69 Buttonholed Double Chain

The TAST stitch of the week, #69, is called Buttonholed Double Chain. It has a reputation for being a 'tricky' stitch and I had to take a few test stitches before I 'got it'. Once I had found the rhythm it was fun to do, and I do like the look.

Instructions are as always on Pintangle.

This time there is only work on my sampler to show.
(I ran out of light purple thread and had a gap that I filled with two orange Buttonhole Bars. As you can see I am still having a problem with the flies; a mutated version has appeared. Time to notify the WHO?)

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

WIPW - Mysljus & Tändstickor

How fast the weeks pass by; it is already Wednesday again and time to give a WIPW progress report on the Kafferepet quilt.

Last week I showed you some silver items, a cake server and some spoons.
Let's move on to copper. This week I have a candlestick made out of copper to show you.

Kafferep is a daytime gathering, and this quilt depicts a party held in summer, after all, the blooms in the border are summer flowers.
So you might rightly ask what a candlestick and a lit candle have to do with a daytime summer coffee party.

Well, winters are long and dark, the tradition of using candles to brighten the day is firmly rooted, and so even in summer people light candles. Especially when you have laid the table with a nice table cloth and the best china.

There is even a special name for candles that are only used for adding a good mood; mysljus. (charming and comforting candles).

I have also appliquéd a box of matches, tändstickor. The details of the illustration are too small for embroidery so I used a permanent ink pen and iron-on crayons instead.
Solstickan is a brand of the world famous Swedish safety match. An amount of the profit goes to charity. You can read all about it here.

All flowers on the border are now in full bloom so I got started on embellishing the undulating bias tape. I want to make use of as many TAST stitches as possible and chose Fancy Hem Stitch for this:

For more WIPW reports and lots of inspiration on how to use Sharon's new Stencils, head over to Pintangle.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Mesh Craft

In this landscape

(TAST# 68 Slipped Detached Stitch/Tulip Stitch) I used a bit of blue 'nylon mesh' scrap for the sky. I mentioned it is a material used for Mesh Craft, and have been asked what Mesh Craft is.

To my knowledge this is something 'very Japanese', books are published, hobby classes are held and the experts create fantastic items.

You need:

  • Nylon mesh, the same material used for ordinary tights, it is sold in all shades and also with added metallic thread
  • Wire
  • Thread
  • Pipes
  • Scissors
  • Beads
  • Glue

 First you wind a piece of wire round a pipe to make a circle.
Cut a piece of mesh.

Stretch the mesh over the circle. Fasten with thread.

Shape the wire into the form you require.

Join with other shapes into flowers, butterflies or dolls. Decorate with beads and make into brooches.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

TAST #68 Slipped Detached Chain Stitch

To fully enjoy the embroidery fun of TAST, go to Pintangle.

TAST #68 Slipped Detached Chain Stitch also has the name, Tulip Stitch. Guess why?

Right, it resembles a tulip, and I just had to make some Dutch beauties
Anyone who read the Language of Flowers from the link on my previous blog post knows that:
Red tulips = undying love
Purple tulips = forever love
Yellow tulips = hopeless love
This floral field is full of love!

I used some small scraps of fabric and a bit of wadding for this landscape, rather than toss the scraps in the bin. The blue sky is of 'nylon mesh' (used for stockings and tights, and of course in Mesh craft).

For my sampler I added a few simple stitches and then tried out Annet's idea for a spider. Rather than a cute spider like hers,  my needle created a four-legged wingless fly, and in a flash it had multiplied. There is now an infestation of hairy flies on my sampler. Any suggestion for pest control? DDT? Fly swatter? Seam ripper? Or just let them be?